CLINTON TO WIN
For Democrats, it’s this simple.
Follow your heart and vote for the aspirational senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, then get smoked in the general election, or use your head and check the box for Hillary Clinton, a candidate who may not excite you but offers a far better chance at keeping a Democrat in the White House.
That Sanders, a grump-ish, old-ish guy with a New York accent from a tiny, all-white state who stumps for more government and higher taxes has started a political movement is unquestionably a testament to the high level of disillusionment in establishment politics.
But had Donald Trump not set the tone for outlandish ideas that aren’t scrutinized by the media, Sanders’ own blue-sky proposals would not be glossed over as they are now, though they will be in a general election.
Remember Walter Mondale? In 1984, as the Democratic nominee challenging President Ronald Reagan, he said, “Mr. Reagan will raise your taxes and so will I. He won’t tell you and I just did.” Mondale lost in a landslide and carried only his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia.
If Sanders is the Democratic nominee, fill in Vermont for Minnesota.
Speaking to reporters at The Conway Daily Sun, he made an eloquent and convincing case that political revolution and real change always start with grand ideas that inspire grassroots movements, and that he is the torchbearer.
True enough, but not good enough in 2016, when undecided, moderate voters will decide the election and reject his call for single-payer health care and free college for everyone (even rich kids), once they figure out out how much it will cost them.
Clinton’s troubles are well-known. She’s dogged by controversies and doesn’t have charisma that inspires big crowds.
Twice she has appeared at editorial boards at the Sun — in 2008 and this year. And it is the consensus of the Sun’s reporters and editors that of the dozens of candidates interviewed through the years, Clinton in the flesh is least like her public persona.
In person she is dynamic, personable, if not charming, and exudes the confidence of a person who has been on the world stage, championing progressive issues all her life, which, of course, she has.
For whatever reason, she does not convey a rock-star persona, though we suspect the public would cringe if a woman waved her arms like an eccentric philosophy professor, like Sanders, or anointed herself a “winner” and spewed schoolyard insults a la Trump.
And about Clinton’s controversies, we say, so what.
They are inconsequential in a world littered with bad actors who must be chuckling at the prospect that the potential leader of the free world could be brought down over what she may or may not have told family members at a funeral service for CIA agents killed in Benghazi or because a few messages marked top secret were found on her private email server.
She is tough and a survivor, and those qualities we want in a commander in chief.
By inspiring and motivating millennials, Sanders has done an invaluable service that in future elections will reap rewards for the Democratic Party.
But in this one, Democrats have a simple choice — win, or lose.